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Potato Biosecurity Standards In Pipeline

An advisory group picked from the private and public sectors of Canada’s potato industry has been set up to develop a new voluntary, nationwide farm-level biosecurity standard.

The group, set up by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Horticultural Council’s potato committee executive, other potato organizations and provincial departments of agriculture, has already agreed to specific terms of reference for the standard such as roles and responsibilities, time frames and process.

The standard, which is expected to complement existing farm-level programs, is to be developed over about two years.

When it is completed, potato growers can use the voluntary standard to design a new program or improve on disease and pest control programs already in place.

The standard is expected to:

Provide a consistent approach across the country for identifying and reducing risks for transmitting disease and pests;

Facilitate advancements in industry’s identification and knowledge of the risks associated with pathogens and pests;

Identify outcomes to achieve, and measures that will support improved biosecurity practices; and

Help identify “potential gaps” in current control measures.

As part of the development process for this standard, a national benchmarking exercise with farm-level participation will take place, to help determine the current level of biosecurity implementation in the potato sector across the country, CFIA said.

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